Andrea Chisesi was born in Rome in 1972. At the age of two, Andrea and his family moved to Milan. There he attended the Art School and the Politecnico di Milano. In 1998 he opened his own studio “Andrea Chisesi photographer” in Porta Venezia in Milan and although his main focus was on photography, this was also where he began to experiment with the technique he himself defined as “Fusion” between painting and photography. From 1998 to 2008, the artist’s main activity was portrait photography, which lead to publications in such prestigious magazines as Vogue, Vanity fair, Max, Rolling Stone…Furthermore, he photographed in his studio and on movie sets actors, writers and world-famous musicians such as Harvey Keitel, Robbie Wiliams, Ken Follet, Steven Tyler and many many more. Despite his achievements in the field of photography, Andrea Chisesi never stopped painting, experimented with his first “fusions” between painting and photography and continued his iconographic research in pure painting.
In 2008 he opened his own painting studio in via Piranesi in Milan. Fusion and Vortices were his two paths and he pursued them in parallel. The first path requires rigorous planning. The canvas gets prepared pictorially to accommodate the photograph, before it continues to be painted. The second one, on the contrary, gives free rein to that instinct and the gesture that the artist has – since 2008 – brought in front of the audience with his live performances. It is precisely this need to be quick and vigorous in the lines before an attentive audience that lead him to adopt the technique of dripping, also in the creation of figurative subjects. Although seemingly very different paths, “Fusion” and pure painting are intertwined especially in the preparatory phase of the works.
How was born the concept of fusioning painting and photography?
This was the first question made to Andrea Chisesi, a professional photograph who decided to blend, to fusion his two passions as a painter and a photograph. He explained to me simply that it was not a concept, but an exigency, during his experiments of printing on different supports, as he was trying to insert particular images of paintings or snapshots of feminine figures. His love for Klimt inspired him to search dreamy images that could not be achieved with painting or photography alone. The first “fusions”, the word he uses to define his technique, were born digitally, as a kind of collage between shots of paintings and shots of figures, and in his first fusions, he mentioned that the fusions are equally balanced since none of both parts prevails and the result is the printing. Then, the artist begins to add colors modifying and superposing the painting to the photography. This technique is practiced by many artists and is definitely acclaimed and in use from the first days of photograph. His itinerary begins to detach itself from the “retouched digital picture” upon experimenting with his own supports. He paints the canvas as if it were a scenario with different types of material: Bologna gypsum, acrylic, newspaper or poster, layers of gold sheets in order to create the texture which will receive the photographic image. Andrea explains to me that photography was born on the concept of printing on white and that what is printed on black does not exist. Thus he starts a real personalized imaginary project removing or enhancing things, knowing that white sustains the image and black denies it. The first fusion is obtained between painting and photography and not between photography and painting. Subsequently, once the image is printed on the painting and with this first step of the fusion, he decides on how to proceed to bring out more power or balance to the work. This technique is in constant experimentation since in changing the painting preparation even with the same image, the work attains a completely different aspect; the photography is back to servicing and not being the guide as known till now. It becomes a filter, a transparent layer which lies on the picture and encloses the volume. The successive interventions of the artist enhance or diminish the volumes, colors and forms at his own pleasure.
How the decollage are made?
Unlike the simple collage ex novo images that are created by gluing pieces of different materials, the dècollage is the final outcome of a series of subtractions, of cuttings and lacerations, in the specific low-cut advertising posters on the walls of the streets. dècollage is Mimmo Rotella, belonging to the ‘50s. Chisesi although starting from the same process, while using the same pop artist’s gestures, produces quite different results. Although the technique is similar and although evokes something already known, despite the visual connections between the two artists which are unavoidable, making a parallel would damage the true objective, leading to a wrong conclusion. Chisesi does not turn off the road, as does the Calabrian artist, the place of the image. His place is the nostalgia of the image, the place of Andrea is in the memory. A memory that Andrea affixes to the image. Or maybe it is rather the new image that is affixed to the memory? However, Andrea does not feel the need to exploit the other sides, the back of layers, or those works using the front of the layers, the part that had unwanted tracks, “errors”, glue, rust, various residue. He does not need to show the tear behind, hiding one of its faces. The artist is more bold in our modern approach: utilising décollage to enhance the memory of time. Layer upon layer, one layer pasted to another, even if it belongs to a different era, far away, it is the result of a reversal of temporality, which alternates in the past, and vice versa. The transaction therefore, of the artistic Andrea Chisesi, is even more powerful, as what he does seems to manipulate two dimensions of time, the past and the present. Perhaps combining them so closely paradoxically surpasses both. In the tearing, the memory of the réclame or the propaganda from the past, inevitably, resurfaces and with it the value of time. In this tearing, the manifested moment lived is immediately covered by another. This stratification is not negated, however, on the contrary, is retained, in its essence. In the Motherhood series, a tribute dedicated to French painter Bouguereau, the Madonnas are the image of the women of our time. Women lost behind the windows, women who forget themselves playing with the ephemeral, with fake, affected consumer needs, unwitting victims of a sick society that wants more and more shade, always subordinate. In the vital operation of Chisesi, they become the paladins of salvation, the couriers who bring life and its value.
How the fireworks are made?
“The fires are my fondest memory as a child when my father took me to my grandparents in Palermo for the holidays. I remained fascinated by the explosion of colours and the fireworks that I had never seen in Milan”. Fire is life itself, continues Andrea, the moment, the cycle, repeats itself perpetually. Life, as an artifice, amazes you and leaves you amazed, it is the instance of the maximum extension of the explosion, it is the dynamism of the colours that reverberate on the skin. The moment you see its peak, it’s full splendour, the fire has already turned off and is over, as life. In Andrea’s work, with every fire there is the man, the couple, the family or the people, people who assist the artifice of their life together. In the realisation of the fire he prepares the background with the colours of the night, where he begins to paint the canvas with the technique of dripping, the sketches white because light is white, then come manipulations of colour and then defines the other parts. Other fires are white, red or black, the subject is the focus, his masterly ability to calibrate the fall colour on the canvas and the density of matter, are the blatant ability of Andrea to dominate the drop, from defining the centre of the fire, building up drop on drop and it’s intangible dimensions from the nucleus to the aurora.
How the Vortex are made?
Nell’arte contemporanea il vortice è un tema ricorrente, le chiavi di lettura possono essere diverse e tutte legate a fattori primordiali, l’universo le sue galassie ed il movimento rotatorio dei pianeti, aria ed acqua ci mostrano la potenza del vortice, poi nell’universo interiore quello non visibile i chakra, sono i centri energetici generati dai flussi di energia che compongono i nostri corpi (in sanscrito il termine significa “ruota”, ed indica appunto, l’incessante ruotare di questi centri nei nostri corpi sottili). Sono anche denominati vortici di luce e di energia vibrazionale, o come all’origine, Padma (loto), pertanto figurativamente rappresentati come fiori. Ognuno di essi ha un particolare colore e un diverso numero di petali, mentre al loro interno sono raffigurate forme geometriche, i simboli mistici, denominati yantra, ciascuno dei quali rievoca gli elementi costitutivi del Creato. Non possiamo toccarli, vederli, ma li percepiamo, i Chakra sono vortici di energia, un’energia non tangibile, non visibile, la quale non cade sotto i nostri comuni sensi, ma che talune persone particolarmente sensibili, possono avvertire a livello tattile o visivo. Tali energie, sebbene per l’appunto, non cadano sotto i nostri sensi, sono tuttavia delle energie fondamentali, sia per quanto concerne le manifestazioni della vita, sia per il mantenimento della vita stessa, nella sua essenza più vera. Per Andrea i vortici sono il suo mandala, “La vita è un vortice”, è stata la sua risposta, la mescolanza tra i colori ed il suo apparente caos sono per Andrea Chisesi il processo mediante il quale il cosmo si è formato dal suo centro; una sorta di viaggio iniziatico che permette di crescere interiormente. Quando ha voglia di dipingere, ma non vuole progettare una fusione Andrea con un movimento quasi ipnotico e ritmico inizia il suo vortice. Quasi sempre inizia a dipingere la tela bianca con il nero, perché la linea guida del vortice è la corrispondenza dell’anima e delle sue sensazioni, successivamente continua a versare sulla tela i colori primari che definiscono il fulcro del quadro, Andrea successivamente comincia a rompere questo equilibrio, comincia ad innestare piccolissime particelle di colore che cercano un nuovo equilibrio, un nuovo movimento che dal centro del quadro si allarga o implode verso un nucleo. Quando gli ho chiesto come ti è venuta l’dea del vortice? mi ha raccontato un aneddoto legato alle sue prime esperienze pittoriche, si trovava nella casa in collina dove amava passare l’estate con la sua famiglia ed in un pomeriggio dove le idee non erano sufficientemente gratificanti, il suo sguardo era perso nella tela bianca e la sua mano su di essa attendeva un impulso, ha disegnato un cerchio, un po’ come Giotto davanti alla richiesta del progetto del campanile! ho risposto.
Con un sorriso mi ha detto “la mia mano andava da sé l’unica cosa che mi allontanava dalla tela era la ricerca dell’equilibrio che trovo solo allontanandomi e socchiudendo gli occhi per mettere a fuoco tutto il quadro e non solo un particolare. Da allora quando dipingo un vortice scarico le mie tensioni e trovo pace“.